11.13.12 4:05 PM ET
The Republicans Who Might Play Ball
At TPM today, Sahil Kapur has a good run down of the five senators most likely to leave Norquististan and back Obama on a tax increase on dollars earned (remember? dollars earned, not people!) above $250,000. He says: Susan Collins of Maine; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Dean Heller of Nevada; Mark Kirk of Illinois; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
That's a good list. Three of the five are from blue states, and Heller, from the least blue of the four, just won reelection, so he won't have to worry about Sharron Angle for a while yet. Murkowski is from a very red state but at this point in her career she probably likes Barack Obama a lot more than she likes Mitch McConnell. Besides, there can't be that many taxpayers in the state of Alaska whose taxable income is greater than $250,000 a year. Well, there's one, but Murkowski doesn't like her, either, so that just provides Murkowski with motivation.
Graham is Kapur's wild card, especially because Graham does face reelection in 2014. but Kapur writes:
...the senator has, in recent years, collaborated with Democrats on major issues like immigration and climate change, and in the wake of Obama’s re-election, is urging his party to soften its opposition on immigration reform in order to win back Hispanics. He has also been vocal about his support for raising tax revenues to reduce the .debt.
Could be, could be. I think there are some other senators who are plenty conservative but not Tea Party types who might be persuadable on the right kind of package. Bob Corker of Tennessee just won reeelection so won't have to face the crazies for a while.
Lamar Alexander of the same state is up in 2014, so he may feel he can't. But he is, I think, exactly the kind of guy who may have been a little emboldened by the Mourdock defeat in Indiana, whereas if Mourdock had won last week, Alexander would probably be terrified of that happening to him.
Johnny Isakson of Georgia is another non-extremist (not up til 2016). Orrin Hatch just won reelection to what, if he's a reasonable human being, ought to be his last term. So I count Kapur's five plus this list of four possibles. That's nine. Obama only needs five. Thsi is doable. The House of course is a whole 'nother matter.